The Fostoria Glass Company, a now-demolished glassware plant in Moundsville, West Virginia, produced fine quality blown stemware and glassware adorned with custom designs and government seals. At the company’s peak in the 1950s, it was producing over eight million pieces of glass annually and was the largest maker of handmade glassware in the nation.
The Fostoria Glass Company was founded in Fostoria, Ohio on December 15, 1887. 1 2 The firm was drawn to the area because of plentiful, low-cost natural gas reserves, necessary components for glass production. The natural gas field was short-lived, and in 1891, Fostoria Glass relocated to Moundsville due to its abundance of natural gas and coal.
Initially producing pressware, Fostoria Glass’ focus had shifted to fine quality blown stemware by the 1920s, before expanding into the production of glass with government seals and other custom designs. 1 2 Every president in the United States from Eisenhower to Reagan ordered glassware from the company.
Fostoria Glass was one of the first in the nation to start a national advertising program in 1924 and was the first to produce complete dinner services in crystal. Its powerful presence made it the largest maker of handmade glassware in the nation and at its peak in the 1950s, the company employed nearly 1,000, producing over eight million pieces of glass annually.
Lancaster Colony purchased Fostoria Glass in 1983, but closed the Moundsville factory in 1986, citing antiquated facilities and foreign competition. 1 The long-abandoned complex was demolished in 2006. 4
The Fostoria Glass Museum, located adjacent to the county courthouse in Moundsville, continues on the legacy of Fostoria Glass. 3
- Fostoria Glass Society of America Article.
- “Fostoria allure lives on in museum.” Point Pleasant Register 6 June, 2006. 26 March, 2007.
- Steelhammer, Rick. “Beautiful legacy Museum preserves artwork made at Fostoria glass plant.” Charleston Gazette 4 June, 2006. 26 March, 2007.
- “Glass plant demolition may begin soon.” Charleston Gazette 27 March, 2005. 26 March, 2007.
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it is sad to see these photos. I have just inherited many, many pieces of Fostoria from my parents that I will treasure. Is there anyway to get copies of these photos. i would love to add them to my collection.
My Dad grew up in Moundsville and Grandfather and Great Uncle worked at the factory. I have boxes of Fostoria Crystal
As an avid glass collector, I have several Fostoria pieces in my collection, including (3) prototype glass stems designed by George Sakier with his original drawings. I was bummed when I heard the entire plant was destroyed. My way of thinking I would have kept the stack and some small structures and re-purposed the site. One of my collecting buddies has all the records and file cabinets from when Lancaster Colony opened the factory in ’86 and told folks; “go in and take what you want.” While many took glass, he obtained all the company records including how the glass was made. In past years, we talked about that should he ever tire of the documents, he should donate to a design college or University as it would be a great example of cradle to grave production in American industry. I know Fenton got some of the Baroque molds and others. The desire to collect glass is greatly subsiding as the new generations have no interest.
I would love to get in touch with your friend with the original reords! My great grandfather and other family were among the first Fostoria workers (so I’ve been told). My grandfather retired from the Moundsville plant near its closing. I’m always looking for family history, especially from the Fostoria connection.
Fostoria Glass – Americana – will forever be in my heart, Governor’s Mansion in Charleston, WVA, had everything you could possibly think of for the serving of so many meals, whether it be bkft., lunch or supper. I was privileged to be friends with Gov. Bill Marland and his precious family, this was during the early 50’s. I still have a few pieces, which I treasure. Jennifer K.
My grandmother lived in Moundsville and we would visit her often. We lived in Cleveland, Ohio at the time, this is around 1950’s. Everyone there had big chunks of colored glass decorating their walkways and outside their front doors. I never knew where they came from. I still wonder how they got these big chunks of glass. She lived on E. 10th st. One man lived in a one room shed and his walkway up to his door was lined with chunks of large glass. I will never forget these memories. Thank you for these pictures of the long lost glass factory.
Absolutely fantastic shots. Well done, looks like a great place. Thanks. Going to Moundsville tomorrow and finding so much stuff is now gone since I was last there seven years ago.
What a shame this company went by the wayside like so many others. I just resurrected my crystal candlesticks…they are beautiful. However, have lost some of the dew drops or whatever you call them. Sometimes it makes you wonder if progress is worth losing establishments like this.
[…] in glassware, and I soon added a new favorite search. Glass companies like Heisey, Imperial, and Fostoria, produced fine, hand worked and acid etched glass from the 1920s through the 1940s and decades […]
we have an outstanding auction coming up with hard to find pieces of Fostoria from one collector in Eaton, Ohio on Monday Sept. 7th 2015 @ 10A.M. more info @ http://www.walnutharvestauctions.com
beautiful set sherman
Is it still there? I would love to visit it!!
Unfortunately, most of the complex was demolished as of early 2011. It should be all gone by now. 🙁
I remember visiting Fostoria on a field trip in 1970.